Are There Higher Taxes for Utah Small Businesses in the Future?

Posted on Jun 16, 2014
Utah small businesses are bracing themselves for a tax hike in the coming year after lawmakers recently started exploring new ways of handling property tax disputes among larger businesses.

Corporations in Utah that face disputes about their property taxes could inadvertently pass the burden onto small businesses and homeowners. Big businesses at the center of the controversy include PacifiCorp, Kennecott, Questar, Union Pacific, and others. These companies see the tax dispute as a matter of fairness and being more efficient because their valuations are spread across state lines.

Now, many taxpayers fear that the tax challenges are costing millions of dollars. The disputes that have dragged out for years have created quite a bit of uncertainty for many companies.

Most counties defend themselves saying that they are advocates for local and small businesses. However, if tax burdens shift from large corporations, homeowners and small businesses could be the ones to pick up the tab.

Utah law deems that governments must receive a certain amount of revenue from taxes. If the higher value property owners—the big businesses—see their valuation reduced, their tax burden must be picked up by other property owners. Rep. Joel Briscoe confirmed that when there are lower taxes for big business players, small businesses and homeowners are negatively impacted.

As a Utah small business tax lawyer, Jordan Wilcox also worries that innocent people will have to pay more out of their pocket to support the tax burden. Members of the Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee seem sympathetic to these concerns. They are skeptical that the counties are falsely claiming to have everyone’s best interest in mind.

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